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Import Vehicle Into USA From Italy

🇮🇹 Italy, (IT)

What's in this article?
  1. Importing Vehicle Into Usa From Italy
  2. Cost & Time Examples For Import A Car From Italy
  3. Category Of Import
  4. Choosing A Car
  5. Car Shipping Options
  6. Cost
  7. Documents Needed
  8. Customs Clearance
Import Vehicle Into USA From Italy

Importing Vehicle Into USA From Italy

Italy is known for high-end luxury items such as watches, suits, and shoes. It is also home to very popular vehicle brands such as Alpha Romeo, Ferrari, Pagani, Maserati, Lamborghini, Fiat, and Lancia. It is, therefore, not strange to find Americans vehicle-shopping in Italy. This trend makes Italy a popular destination and origin for International car shipping companies.

Cost & Time Examples for Import a Car from Italy

From/ToOceanGroundEstimated Time
Palermo to (New York port) to New York, NY$1800$27519+5 days
Napoli to (California port) to Los Angeles$3700$35032+5 days
Genoa to (California port) to Las Vegas, NV$2500$45032+5 days
Palermo to (California port) to Portland, OR$3600$47532+6 days
Napoli to (California port) to Phoenix, AZ$3700$55032+6 days
Palermo to (New York port) to Columbus, OH$1800$55019+5 days
Genoa to (New York port) to Charlotte, NC$1500$57518+6 days
Genoa to (New York port) to Chicago, IL$1500$67518+6 days
Napoli to (New York port) to Miami, FL$2700$92520+7 days
Genoa to (California port) to Dallas, TX$2500$1,02532+7 days
  1. *Prices and times are estimated. They can vary depending on the season and the type of vehicle.
  2. *Save the ground transport cost by delivering the vehicle to the nearest port.
  3. *Allow an additional 10 days to process the documents.
  4. *Prices are for 1 car in a dedicated 20ft container. This is the safest and most reliable way to transport a vehicle internationally. Other items may be included in the container to help save you money when moving.
  5. *Using the RoRo (roll on, roll off) method is less expensive and shipments can be completed in fewer days. Contact us now for a free RoRo quote.

But how is the import vehicle into the USA from Italy process? Read on to find out.

Category of import

There are different categories of car imports - permanent imports and temporary imports. To permanently import a car from Italy to the USA, you are either need to be a US citizen, a US company, or to hold a legal status to live and work in the US.

A vehicle that is imported temporarily stays within the US borders for a maximum of 12 months. Vehicles are temporarily imported for the following reasons;

  • Display
  • Leisure
  • Vacation
  • Events
  • Repair

Choosing a car

There are strict rules and regulations dictating the type of cars that enter the US. When buying a vehicle in Italy, insist on models manufactured for North America. If you are in the US, first confirm that the specific model you want is not available in local and national car dealerships.

A vehicle imported into the USA should be manufactured to US specifications. If not manufactured for the US, it should be older than 25 years. If it does not meet these two specifications, then it should be imported temporarily.

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Car shipping options

After confirming that the vehicle is eligible for importing to the US, you need to find an international car shipping company. If you are in the US, find a shipping company that ships to ports in Italy. Similarly, if you are in Italy, consult a shipping company that delivers to the US.

Most car shipping companies transport vehicles internationally on the Roll on Roll off (RoRo) vessels. RoRo vessels are ships specially designed to transport automobiles. The vehicles to be transported are driven into the ship (roll on just as you would drive your car into a parking garage. Once in the vessel, the vehicles are firmly secured. On arrival at the destination, they are driven down out of the vessel (roll off).

The other option is transporting the vehicle in a container. The RoRo method is cheaper than the container method. Also, the departure and arrival dates for the RoRo vessels are highly reliable.

Most international shipping companies offer port-to-port shipping. Others can make arrangements for port-to-door, door-to-port, and the most convenient but expensive option, which is door-to-door.


Distance is the major factor that affects the cost of shipping. For instance, it will cost more to ship from Italy to the US West Coast than to the US East Coast. In RoRo shipping, the size of the vehicle also affects the price. Shipping companies are interested in the space the vehicle occupies, not its weight. Compare quotes from different shipping companies to try and get the best price.

Make sure that you insure your cargo by taking a marine cargo insurance policy. Most shipping companies have cargo insurance, but it is better to be sure. Their coverage might be smaller than all the cargo in transit.

Documents needed

Before you can import vehicle into USA from Italy, there are documents needed for clearance. These are:

  • Proof of ownership documents
  • Driving license
  • Passport
  • Vehicle’s registration plates

There are also custom duty fees that you need to pay at the port. Your shipping company should help you with this. Also, you have to provide the shipping company with the car keys, including the ignition key, car trunk keys and any other keys to any locked compartment in the car. Please note that international shipping companies do not allow you to put any personal belongings in the car to be transported. Here are more tips on preparing a car for shipping.

Customs clearance

After making the shipping arrangements, you should contact US customs. Give them the expected date of arrival. The shipment will be cleared through the Customs Office at the first port of entry. However, you can make arrangements with a freight forwarder to have the car sent in bond to a customs office near or more convenient to you.

The customs office will need to see:

  • Shippers bill of lading
  • The Italian vehicle registration documents
  • Proof of vehicle ownership
  • Complete EPA form 3520-1 (this form confirms that the vehicle conforms with the EPA’s vehicle emission requirements)
  • Manufacturer’s printed vehicle specifications (in English)

That is how to import vehicle into USA from Italy. The process is straightforward once you familiarize yourself with it. Just remember that the vehicle you buy should be manufactured for North America, which all Italian manufacturers do, and conform with EPA’s emission regulations.

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Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing. 

After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood. 

With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.

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Mylene Rutllant
It’s my number one pick in auto shipping to this day.

Due to the nature of my work, I must relocate every couple of years to where my company needs me. Because of this, I’ve tested several moving and auto transport companies over the years.

And my choice in terms of auto transport has to be A1 Auto Transport. It’s in the name, but also in the quality with which they do their jobs. I’ve never had a problem with this company.

The only time my shipment was delayed was during winter when a snowstorm closed down all the major roads. And they still found an alternative and got my car delivered before roads got unstuck.

When I moved to West Virginia, they picked up my car the very day I called them. I like to think they take special care of me considering all the business I’ve sent them. I’ll continue to support A1 Auto Transport. It’s my number one pick in auto shipping to this day.

Luis Rodriguez
You have my full support and recommendation!

I considered selling my car when I moved to Washington. It was old and rusty, but I grew attached to it. So, I called a couple companies to transport it to my new home, but they both fell through.

The first one couldn’t decide on a schedule. He would constantly change the pickup date till I got frustrated and canceled. The second was insufferable, very rude on the phone, even worse in person.

They started picking a part my car asking me why I still have it. If that’s their opinion of my vehicle, how can I trust they’ll take care of it? If something happened midway, why wouldn’t they just blame it on the car instead of paying up?

So, I cancelled this company as well and turned to A1 Auto Transport. From the get go, they were very different from my past options. Their website was very professional and up to date, full of useful information. I requested a quote using their online form, and I got an email response within an hour. Surprisingly fast!

If I didn’t know any better, I would’ve thought they were lacking customers, but the email spoke for itself. In just one email, everything I needed to know was there, including a contact number I could use to get more information or confirm the transport.

I called and got things rolling. I was very pleased with the driver. He followed standard procedure and represented his company well. Can’t remember his name, but props to him!

The car arrived in Washington 6 days later in excellent condition. From what I understand, the transport was delayed a bit by a storm, but since the time window was 4-6 days from the beginning, I don’t really care. You have my full support and recommendation!

Testimonial by Cristine Benoit
Cristine Benoit
I can safely say this is a legit company that will get the job done.

There are a lot of options for auto transport these days, which surprisingly makes it harder to find a good company. I received more than 10 offers to ship my car, but I couldn’t decide on any of them.

After doing some research, I got even more worried reading about all the scams and accidents that can happen. But, I have work to do and couldn’t afford to drive my newly purchased Mini Cooper all the way to Virginia.

Fortunately, I made the right choice with A1 Auto Transport. They are very good at their jobs. I spent more than an hour drilling Joe with various questions, and he never once lost his patience. He saw I was interested, so he bore with me until I was satisfied. The driver was also very courteous and my car was intact on arrival. I couldn’t have asked for more.

By the way, the price we first agreed on stayed the same. There were no delays or unexpected “surprises.” I can safely say this is a legit company that will get the job done.

David Osallo
We give A1 Auto Transport a big 10 out of 10!

We give A1 Auto Transport a big 10 out of 10! We chose them to move our car from California to Vermont, since we needed professionals.

We were abroad during the transport, so the transport was a bit tricky. The driver had to pick it up from storage on short notice and get it to its destination within at most 10 days. I was happy to note it arrived sooner. We got it 3 days early, right when we got home to pick it up. It made getting around way easier. Awesome service!

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A-1 Auto Transport is a disclosed agent for the following shipping companies:

Trans Global Auto Logistics, Inc.
3401 E Randol Mill Rd
Arlington, TX 76011
NO. 018191NF
CFR Rinkens
15501 Texaco Avenue
Paramount, CA 90723
NO. 013055NF
ABC Worldwide LLC
2840 NW 2nd Ave #105
Boca Raton, FL 33431
NO. 025472F
CSI Logistics
435 Division Street
Elizabeth, NJ 07201
FMC 22206
Intl Cargo
45 Campus drive
Edison, NJ 08837
NO. 17858N
ShipYourCarNow LLC
1160 South Rogers Circle Suite 1
Boca Raton, FL 33487
NO. 025646
Merco Air & Ocean Cargo, Inc.
6 Fir Way
Cooper City, FL 33026
NO. 021869F
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